THE STATE OF MAINE'S BOATING NEWSPAPER Volume 23 Issue 11 November 2010
U.S. Postage Paid, #256 Bangor, Maine 04401
Maine Coastal News FREE Lobstering Takes a Turn For the Better Along the Maine Coast!
By Sheila Dassett
Since the “fall of the lobster industry” of October 2008, the industry is showing signs of recovery. This is a positive observation, which is a miracle with the nosedive that we all took at that time in our economic history of lobstering.
Just to give a brief refresher of the way it was, I remember when all of a sudden, the price of lobsters were as low as $1.75 per pound. The processors could not purchase our lobsters due to the collapse of the Icelan- dic banks. In turn, the dealers could not move our lobsters or provide us with the necessary bait that we needed to finish out the season. Bait was also very hard to come by. “It all rolled downhill from there.”
The lobstermen and families were keeping their own catch and learning ways to freeze lobster, much the same way that you would freeze a side of beef for the winter. New recipes were created and many uses for lob- ster were introduced.
The roadside sales were a-dream-come true for anyone that wanted a “good buy” for lobster. The biggest problem was that the lobstermen had much more overhead ex- penses and such low prices for their lobster that they could not begin to make a profit; if anything, most went into the hole. The only thing to do was to take their traps up during the time of the year that traditionally, most of the lobsters are caught.
The Maine Lobster Promotion Council
Coming in from a day of hauling is GOVERNOR, owned by Marshall Farnham of Boothbay. demand of the live market.
created the “Fall Harvest Campaign” to help change tradition for the holidays. Lobster for Thanksgiving was introduced. Some people even had lobster for their Christmas holiday meals. The outreach for Maine lobster was created and has become a newly established tradition during the harvest time of the year. This year’s Harvest Campaign has already started for the month of October through November. The Chef of the Year Celebration which is held in Portland was held Friday, October 22. Following the celebration and the choosing of the new Chef of the Year, there will be a half-hour television presenta- tion that will be aired throughout the fall season. This will be reaching out to cities within the perimeter of safe and quality deliv- ery for trucking live lobster.
As far as the regional areas, such as each of the zones in the State of Maine, everyone has reported a much better season for yield than the last couple of years.
The price started around $3.00 a pound in most areas in the beginning of the summer. The average price for hard shell was $5.00 a pound. When the selects came in, the aver- age price was $3.60 a pound. This is the overall average price, with the exception of the bonus system that varies in each area. By this month, the average overall price is $3.55 a pound, $5.25 for hard shell and $3.75 for selects. This is much more promising than the prices of the last two years. For this season, there has been an increase in the
This has created competition with the processors; thus relating to a higher price – supply and demand. The careful point here is to try to balance the management of the product for the remainder of the season. The balance includes the live market, the process- ing of lobsters and the lobster pound storage. With the economy still very tight with little cash flow across the board, the lobstermen have worked very well to tighten the purse strings and work together. As examples, the bait supply was man- aged with a lot of cooperation. The price did not go up dramatically and the bait suppliers also worked with the fishermen making the supply available. There was some rationing going on, but this was just to ensure that everyone had their fair share.
The banks have been working with the fishermen as far as their boat loans, also. It is better to work with the fishermen than to repossess the boats. Most banks and finan- cial institutions have been allowing the pay- ments to come in to the best of the ability of the fishermen. They would much rather see the fishermen keep their livelihood. There is a good chance that processing lobster will also be in the state of Maine. The former Stinson (Bumblebee) Canning plant in Gouldsboro has been purchased by the Live Lobster Company of Boston. There has been a question of a $400,000 grant that was awarded through the town of Gouldsboro to
C o n t e n t s
Politics & Salt Water Calendar of Events Jeff's Marine
The Landing School Model Builder Jerome Morris
4 4 5 6 7
Maine Maritime Academy News Grants for Maine Ports US Sailing Director
Coast Guard/Shipbuilding Passed Over the Bar
8 8 8 9 9
Open Boatyard Days Support for Fisheries
Woods Hole New Campaign Atlantic Sturgeon
Commercial Fishing News Miscellaneous News 11
10 10 10 10
Boat Yard News
New Boatbuilding Program Tug Boat News Flying Rum
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Old Bangor Commercial Articles 20 Classified Ads
go toward the processing facility. This grant is still pending for the near future but as I understand, and will be taken up again this winter for reconsideration. The plan for the processing plant is still moving forward, but at a little slower pace. We need to expand our processing in the state of Maine to be able to have lobster more accessible to the U.S. mar- kets that have not been introduced to lobster. Processed lobster offers many different opportunities for people throughout the country to be introduced to our Maine prod- uct line. Processed lobster can be used in chowders, pasta dishes, and salads. There is a wide array of uses for our product. By putting lobster in different cuisine, we are making our product “value added.” This is much the same way that the Maine Blueberry Industry has promoted their product. The blueberry industry has been very beneficial to the Maine Lobster Industry with their helpfulness and support such as sharing their development plan with the Maine Lob- ster Promotion Council at the US/Canadian Town Meeting in Portland last March. This was also shared with the leaders of the Maine Lobster Industry . We all know how success- ful the blueberry industry has become. With this thought, if Maine works to- gether to promote our natural resources, we will all benefit as we look to the future. The key is: we need to work together for the good of our state its citizens and our communities. This can be done!
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